GEA is further expanding its market position in the dynamically growing new food market with one of the biggest orders in the company’s history. Novozymes, the world’s largest supplier of enzyme and microbial technologies headquartered in Denmark, has entrusted GEA with the turnkey fitting of a major new plant to produce plant-based proteins for the plant-based food industry. The volume of this order is well into the high double-digit million-euro range. Building the new factory in Nebraska, USA, will start later this year and is expected to be completed towards the end of 2023.
“The demand for foods that have a demonstrably lower environmental footprint than conventionally produced products is growing enormously,” says GEA CEO Stefan Klebert. “With our technologies and experience in scaling industrial applications, GEA is ideally positioned to serve the new food market and thus contribute to our corporate purpose of ‘engineering for a better world’,” says Klebert. “We are pleased to partner with Novozymes in this strategic project.”
For decades, Novozymes has been developing fermented catalytic (i.e. industrially produced) proteins – enzymes – that are the basis for many industrial applications. Only recently, the company announced its intention to invest DKK 2 billion in the growth market for functional proteins (advanced protein solutions) for the food industry. “This investment in a new, state-of-the-art production line in Blair, Nebraska, underscores our commitment to feeding the world sustainably and demonstrating the true strength of biotechnology,” says COO & Executive Vice President Graziela Chaluppe dos Santos Malucelli, Novozymes.
The new plant covers the manufacturing steps from harvesting to separation of proteins. According to Heinz-Jürgen Kroner, Senior Vice President Liquid Technologies at GEA and responsible for the company’s alternative foods business, both partners are united by their ability to build scalable, reliable, and highly efficient plant systems. “This project is exceptional in many respects. The intensive bidding phase saw us planning the production lines for the ingredients less than a year later. We now aim to implement the project at the same pace. The partnership is a very rewarding experience.”
GEA will now construct the process systems, which include membrane filters, mixers, homogenizers, heat exchangers, pasteurizers and UHT units, cleaning and filling systems as well as the pump and valve technology. Installation will start mid-2022. The production capacity initially built can easily be expanded to multiply the capacity in the future as demand grows.